Health Freak Cafe: Subiaco

After a brief hiatus solely due to a serious bout of chronic laziness, The Fat Cow has returned to grazing Perth pastures and more surprisingly has passed on the hot chips for a healthier alternative.

Don’t be fooled this mentality isn’t permanent and resembles most people who are extremely healthy for the morning period prior to morphing into sugar monster’s come 3pm. Spurred on by my morning feelings of healthiness I ran………..no drove to the happening health cafe, Health Freak situated in Subiaco.

Health Freak Cafe details:

Opening Hours 
Monday – Friday   7am – 4.00pm

Saturday – Sunday 8am – 3pm

Monday – Saturday breakfast  is served  till 11.30am

Sunday – All Day Breakfast till 2pm.

Address: Cnr Alvan St & Railway Road Subiaco

Phone: 9380 6008

Tapping into the raw, vegan, vegetarian & gluten-free market you can be assured that all people will be catered for, including the rabbit food eaters right through to the ‘unless there’s meat there is nothing to eat’ diners.

Health Freak’s menu can be found at their website:

http://www.healthfreakcafe.com.au/menu/breakfast/

If you are concerned about your health and looking for a place where you know exactly what you are eating, than this is the place for you. All items listed on the menu give you a comprehensive breakdown of calories and protein etc giving you some idea of what you are putting into your body. Given that majority of the items on their menu are quite healthy, one doesn’t mind knowing the calorie content. This option probably shouldn’t be introduced to all restaurants, as ignorance is sometimes bliss and I don’t need someone confirming that the cookies and cream cheesecake isn’t a ‘healthy option’ (despite having the word cheese in it).

Being a creature of habit I rarely stray from a mushroom/egg combination or muesli, but for the sake of living life on the edge and attempting to build a six-pack I opted for the power protein pancakes topped with banana and a berry sauce.

Pancakes topped with banana and berries

Pancakes topped with banana and berries

It’s no secret that people are addicted to sugar and fat because it tastes so damn good, and despite people’s best efforts it is pretty rare to find a healthy mud cake that is head and shoulders above the fully fledged fat mud cake. The Health Freak Cafe gives it a good go and succeeds somewhat in making healthy meals which don’t sacrifice taste. Although I would like to say the pancakes were to die for, honestly they probably weren’t as enjoyable other pancakes I have had previously lathered in maple syrup and even ice-cream. What I did enjoy however was that I walked away (rather than rolling) knowing that I hadn’t consumed my entire daily intake of calories in one mouthful and was still satisfied while enjoying the meal.

If you don’t go out very often and you are looking for a ‘treat’ breakfast/lunch then I would imagine you may be left wanting if you head to Health Freak. If you are concerned about your weight, craving something fresh and natural, regularly treat your body as a temple and looking for a place which you don’t feel guilty after eating then Health Freak is just the ticket!

It’s an enjoyable cafe in a convenient location and caters to a currently in vogue healthy living market. It’s reasonably priced and worth bypassing your bacon and egg mcmuffin to see if you are happy to become a health freak.

Positives: Healthy and transparent menu options and prompt service.

Negatives: Not a ‘treat’ cafe, limited seating and bland decor.

Final score: 3/5

Health Freak Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Source Foods Cafe: Highgate

It’s a word in a foodies vocabulary as repugnant as diet. Starting with a B and ending with a T, some may think I am referring to the word ‘bloat’. Although highly unpleasant, this foodie phenomenon is something I embrace and comes with the overeating territory. The dreaded B word I speak of and is currently putting a pickle in the works is ….BUDGET.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had ‘my last supper’ at Perth’s fine dining restaurants. The time has now come for me to become financially responsible, and scope out Perth’s cheap eats to save some money for the impending holiday. I am determined to find places which keep both my belly and wallet full, yet still enjoy great quality food. Although I enjoyed Nando’s chips and chicken (with peri peri sauce) the other night, I will try my best to avoid blogging and reviewing ‘fast food’ joints. We all know how delicious big macs or fried chicken can be, especially late on a saturday night.

In an attempt to find low-cost but great tasting restaurants, I perused the Urbanspoon website for inspiration. As luck would have it Source Foods in Highgate caught my eye, hearing many recent positive reviews primarily for their organic all day breakfast and enjoyable lunches.  As luck would have it however, Source Foods opens its doors for 1 night a week; that being Friday burger night!

Source Foods Cafe

Phone: 08 6468 7100

289 Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000

http://www.sourcefoods.com.au

Burgers aka food of the gods, would have to be high on the list of my favourite foods. As a kid my favourite meal was a ‘salad sandwich’ (sad, sad child) and obviously as I have  become older and developed mature tastebuds I have upgraded from a salad sandwich to a burger. The combination of fresh bread, succulent meat, topped with fresh salad and melted cheese, elicits a creepy drool out of one side of my mouth. Mentioning the above ingredients makes it seem like anyone can make a burger, but from my experience there some seriously inept burger artists.

Source Foods wasn’t the case though. Looking through the menu it was clear to see that everything was produced locally and freshly sourced. I opted for the El Scorcho Burger – Organic Dandaragan beef pattie with tomato, fried onion, lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream and chilli jam ($15). My fellow burger buyer went for the Harrisa Steak Burger- Organic steak, tomato, fried onion, lettuce, feta cheese and minted yoghurt  ($16). Ordering these meat filled burgers ensured we would not be welcome at any ‘vegetarians r us’ conferences in the near future.

I was disappointed to find that our burgers did not come with the staple side of chips. Burgers and chips are like peas and carrots, and in my opinion one should not be served on a plate without the other. Like many places these days, Source Foods had them as a side order, which we quickly invested in to share ($5.50). Topped with texan seasoning the chips we ok, and enough to share between 3 people. As you may have noticed I tend to favour hand cut chips (nice and chunky) these however were shoestring fries, so they didn’t particularly win me over. Although the chips were ordered to be part of the meal, they arrived well in advance of our burgers. This in the end was a saviour, with the burgers taking a significant amount of time to present themselves despite being relatively quite in the restaurant. A few chips later and I had managed to curtail any cannibalistic tendencies I was starting to have due to insane hunger.

Shoestring fries with texan seasoning

Eventually the burgers arrived and looked very appetising (probably a lot to do with being hungry). The bread was fresh and the burger well stacked with the listed ingredients. It wasn’t exactly good ‘date’ food. Streams of sour cream and beef juice ran distasetfully down my arm, but when in the presence of great friends I didn’t care and simply licked it up. The pattie was tasty and best of all the combination of jalapeno and chilli jam added the ‘El Scorcho’ spice promised on the menu. No complaints were voiced by my happy burger companions, although water was being consumed at a rapid rate by my friend eating the steak harrisa burger. *She learnt harrisa was spicy that night.

El Scorcho Burger

I was very satisfied by the completion of my burger and it was nice not having an oil slick sitting at the back of my throat, so often experienced when eating crummy burgers.  Not only was I left happy, but my bank account was definitely happier than previous Friday nights.

Positives: Fresh produce, organic, great range of burgers (meat, veto, gluten-free)

Negatives: Long wait, separate order show strings fries and sparse environment.

Overall: 3/5. This is a great burger joint which is worth a Friday night visit, even before going for drinks across the road at The Brisbane. I would be interested in heading back to try it all day breakfast, as I feel the ‘organic’ ingredients lend itself well to the menu.

Love The Fat Cow x

Note: Apologies for the average photos. I am currently living back in the 1800’s with an extra old nokia phone after ‘misplacing’ my HTC. In 3 months time I may even upgrade to an iPhone 5!

Source Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ootong & Lincoln: Fremantle

I’ve been sucking back on my inhaler for about half an hour now. This is a necessary activity based on my anxiety currently sky rocketing, buoyed by the statement I am about to make.

I love Perth!

And just to really show just how much I adore my city, I would say that I love Perth like a fat man loves being caught in sizzler after hours.

Poor Perth has been dealt a bad wrap across the years being labelled dull, boring and stuck in the 18th century. Call me beige but the slow/relaxed lifestyle is exactly what I enjoy about Perth, probably appealing to my sometimes lazy tendencies. I have however come to realise that these are sentiments  not shared by many of my co-workers, who have emulated Dora the Explorer and come across from the eastern states. Hearing gripes about Perth on such a regular basis, I have managed to collaborate a comprehensive list of Perth woes.

Top 10 first world problems of living in Perth

  1. Perth driver’s inability to merge. Despite the ‘zipper one for one formula’ working across a multitude of states in Australia, Perth drivers having created their own system based on Darwinism – Only the strongest and most impatient survive.
  2. Lack of public transport. Stand of Murray St on a Saturday and you will realise you have more opportunity of sleeping with Brad Pitt  vs hailing a taxi down.
  3. No crispy crème doughnuts, Starbuck’s or 7/11. This problem is further highlights on dates 11/7 or 7/11 when shop 7/11 has free slushy days nowhere to be seen in Perth.
  4. Isolation. It is somewhat concerning when you pay more to get the Broome (our own state) vs Bali (international)
  5. Cashed up bogan’s. Compliments of the mining boom Perth has seen a bogan boom leaving the women of Perth exposed to a quality selection of foul-mouthed, beer swilling, bearded men. Sorry boys but having money doesn’t completely compensate for being an animal.
  6. Finding out Master Chef and The Voice results via Social Media before it actually screens. Perth is already too isolated to restrict our access to Facebook and Twitter in lead up to show finales.
  7. Having to flick past 10 stories about football before reading real news. Since when is Ben Cousins new tattoo more important then global news?
  8. Cost of living. Nothing says independence like moving out of home into a share house of 6 on a diet of potato simply to afford the rent. (Blame extends to cashed up bogans)
  9. No extended trading hours and no daylight savings. End of story.
  10. And finally the biggest complaint of all……….TAKEAWAY COFFEE costing over $4.00!!

Many of these gripes I can understand and appreciate. I’m the first one to agree that 5 pages on Ben Cousins is excessive and being exposed to toothless miners who haven’t seen a woman in a long time doesn’t make for a good Saturday night. Being patriot of the state however I have made it my personal mission to change the minds around me about Perth.

No extended trading hours?? Well I say, so what! No shops open on a Sunday morning allows me to validate going out for breakfast as there is nothing else to do. I urge all those watching paint dry at home to get on board. This particular Sunday morning we ventured into Fremantle to a longtime favourite (which I haven’t blogged about) Ootong and Lincoln. Located out of Fremantle you wouldn’t really stumble upon in it while meandering through the shops. I happened to stop in initially after another favourite breakfast spot Aubergine(up the road) was packed.

$3 takeaway coffee

A large spacious cafe allows for couples and groups to find a seat relatively easily both indoors or outdoors. The interior is old school retro filled with some mean trikes and old jars (globes inserted) dangling from the ceiling providing light. 2 serving areas have been set up with a main counter taking seated customer orders while the other doing takeaways. This works well eliminating queues and people standing around the food counter waiting for their takeaways.

Interior of Ootong & Lincoln

Looking through the menu it was hard not to opt for the Chai buttermilk pancakes with honey cream lime ($16) or the Mushroom, feta, tomato, rocket, basil pesto toast ($17.50) which we had previously and thoroughly enjoyed.  Living life on the edge (like a real rock stars) we deviated from what we knew and ordered the Baked egg, tomato, spiced red pepper and humus toast ($16.50) and Smoked salmon, poached egg, avocado on rye with a side of bacon ($19.50). Drinks included a soy iced chai and fresh orange juice followed by a takeaway long black.

Ordering up at the counter I couldn’t help but eyeball the cake and lunch cabinet making note that I needed to return on a lunch or cake run. In a less than obvious way I took a quick snapshot to give you all an idea of what culinary delights O&L might offer should you make your way to the cafe.

Lunch munches

As the plate of baked eggs was placed in front of me I knew I had done the right thing by trying a new dish. The smell of the fresh ripped bread looking ripe for the dunking got the saliva glands working. My love of carbs was reaffirmed during this breakfast with the homemade bread being served slightly toasted with a drizzle of olive oil perfect for mopping up the runny eggs and tomato juices lining the base of the serving pan. The baked eggs oozed upon first cut and the mix of the humus, tomato and red pepper made for a tasty and slightly spicy bonanza.

Baked eggs with crusty bread

Although the salmon avocado didn’t look as impressive as the baked eggs with its presentation it delivered with the traditional flavours of salmon, avocado and cream cheese coming together nicely. The eggs appeared slightly overcooked and the bacon a little thin for my liking but the generous serving of salmon seemed to be the primary focus of enjoyment for my fellow grazer being left till the end to enjoy in its own glory.

Salmon and avocado

For all those complaining about the cost of coffee however here is something that will cool your heels. Takeaway quality coffee available here for $3!! Not only was it an enjoyable coffee it was regular to large in size, and the barista double cupped my long black avoiding a trip to the burns unit for my fragile hands.

Yes, Perth might have it’s downfalls but with places like Ootong & Lincoln providing quality breakfast with affordable coffee on a slow sunny Sunday I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Positives: Good portion sizes, cheap coffee, retro vibe and richly flavoured foods.

Negatives: Slightly over poached eggs, thin bacon rashers and lack of parking spaces forcing poor illegal parallel parking.

Overall scores: 3.5 /5. Well worth a visit to Freo town for this hip cafe.

Ootong & Lincoln on Urbanspoon

Gusto Food: South Perth

Poppers explode expelling colourful streamers amidst a puff of smoke. The words HAPPY BIRTHDAY spill from mouths across the room. Champagne glasses raise in unison before being sucked dry. Excitement has filled the air, yet all I hear is a loud tick-tock coming from my biological clock located somewhere between my uterus and forgetful mind.

It’s my birthday and friends have gathered to celebrate my 25th year of winning the race to my Mother’s egg (bless my competitive nature). Although it is a nice occasion to eat food and drink wine, I know I am having a quarter life crisis. I am not for one minute saying that being 25 years of age is old, but if one reflects on the 25 – 30 years of age period it seems to be a time when your meant to get your merde (french swear word) together.

Examples include:

1. Getting married or engaged. (Bonus points if he is good-looking, rich and not a complete douche bag.)

3. Landed a killer job preferably in your area of study, thus not regretting the copious amounts of money spent on a university education

4. Moved out of parents ‘granny flat’ and bought a house. 2 year grace period for Perth citizens is applicable due to over priced and poorly located housing.

5. Learnt to appreciate red wine, coffee, gin and blue cheese over passion pop, hot chocolate, smirnoff ice and cheese sticks.

Sadly, as I mused over this list my early headway of learning to like coffee and red wine at age 20 has come to a complete standstill. I am now leading the charge to usurp the crazy cat lady throne, failing to accomplish many of these items on the checklist. Fortunately for my mental well-being, with just one trip to Gusto Food: South Perth, I was able to pull myself out of this quarter life crisis slump. (No regrettable red convertible purchase necessary)

Located on the previously underperforming  Angelo St coffee strip,  Gusto Food is relatively narrow therefore being a tight squeeze for 7 women and a baby. Without much of an option to go elsewhere we made it work and ordered at the counter. The coffee was served promptly and although I wouldn’t go back for the coffee alone it was palatable. Before long gentle murmurs of ooohhhing and aaahhhing swept across the table. Some may have throught it would be over my friends baby, and although she is cute it was the sight of the food being placed in front of us that elicited such sounds.

The cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50) looked fit to serve the cast of survivor 3 times over. The cinnamon toast was thick allowing for the berry and maple syrup to be happily soaked up and eaten. The vast array of sweet and savoury ingredients was probably overkill and the old ‘less is more’ proverb was applicable to this dish. Although both diners looked unsure on how to approach eating the cinnamon mountain, this was quickly overcome and shared thus reducing the food envy spilling across the table.

Cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50)

Breakfast or dessert? Cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50)

The housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50) was also ordered and although the serving wasn’t as generous as the cinnamon toast, it made up for it in flavour. Being an avid believer that peanut butter could solve most of the worlds problems and really is the next best thing since sliced bread, I wanted to sneak out back and find where Gusto was hiding the sensational peanut gravel. The crumpets were light and fluffy and made for an interesting menu item showing Gusto’s creativity.

Housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50)

Housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50)

With many of the items being ‘sweets’ orientated I opted for a more savoury approach with the provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast ($17.50). Although it wasn’t the prettiest of plates resembling babies reflux on toast, it was extremely tasty. The poached egg with long time favourite foods mushroom and avocado made a good base for this meal. The hollandaise sauce was enjoyable but due to a heavy hand, it left me feeling a bit unwell due to the heaviness/creaminess (Some would suggest I practice portion control, but to these people I laugh in their healthy faces).

Provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast

Provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast

So how do eggs, mushrooms, cinnamon toast and peanut gravel manage to pull someone out of a quarter life crisis? Despite not ‘having my act together’, maturing definitely has its advantages (clarity being bought on by peanut gravel). Call me old and boring but I enjoy the fact that I can now experience the following on a regular basis:

1. Being able to maximise my Sunday by going out with friends at 9am in the morning vs remaining in the foetal position for half a day with a severe hangover.

2. Actually hearing what my friend has to say compared to lip reading and assuming the rest (a common night club occurence).

3. Being able to buy food for your friends baby, which in the end you can inevitably eat yourself as the baby isn’t on solids or could possibly be allergic to nuts

4. Having money to afford such glorious food compared to the student staple of me-goreng or 2 minute noodles.

So cheers to becoming a golden oldie and Gusto cafe. It’s great to  no longer hang my head in shame when a North of the River citizen questions the South’s culinary ability.

Positives: Good portions sizes for a reasonable price, great location, mouth-watering cake cabinet.

Negatives: Average coffee, slightly overly creamy provincial eggs and limited space for a popular place.

Score: 3/5

Love The Fat Cow x

Gusto Food on Urbanspoon

The Attic: Fremantle

The Attic: A special place reserved for unwanted family members prone to social inappropriateness and bringing shame to the family name.

On the odd occasion Mum and Dad take pity on me, and let me descend from the lofty room I have come to spend a significant amount of time in. On these rare occasions I make a point of taking full advantage of obtaining food, sunlight and making awkward conversation with those around me. Although wanting to capitalise on being set loose on the public, I am a creature of habit and last Sunday was quick to return to “The Attic”…….just in someone elses Fremantle property.

The Attic

16 Bannister St, Fremantle

08 9385 6248

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 7am – 4pm

Sunday 8am – 4pm

Located just off the main strip of Fremantle my fellow diner (AKA: Arancini Balls) would be forgiven for thinking I was taking him into the ghettos of Fremantle to quietly dispose of him.  Full of relief and with all his organs still intact the door to The Attic appeared in the brick building. Arancini and I scurried inside to be welcomed by a front counter full of sumptuous freshly baked goods and the glorious Sunday smell of coffee beans. With the seating being located upstairs we grabbed a menu to order straight away, therefore minimising the need to climb the steps twice. Some may say this is lazy, I just claim that we were being energy-efficient.

The menu was extensive with a wide range of unique dishes suitable for a range of different palates. In true Perth style the service at The Attic was not up to scratch with the waitress appearing to have sucked on sour lemons all morning. There is only so many times someone can rudely ask “Are you finally ready to order or have you finally made up your mind?” Before I want to throw the menu at their sarcastic face.  Last time I checked body language isn’t a foreign concept and surely a trained waitress would understand, that if I am still looking at the menu with a semi-dumbstruck look on my face then I am clearly not ready to give her my order.

With the laser beams from the waitress’ eyes  boring into my soul I hastily settled on the toasted Quesadilla filled with black beans, goats cheese, fried egg, white sauce and avocado while Arancini ordered the Breakfast Panini with bacon, fried egg and homemade relish. For drinks we ordered a long black ($3.80) and fresh apple/pear juice ($6). Roughly coming to about $15 – $20 p/person.

With the order placed we trudged up the stairs in disgraceful fashion admiring the local artist’s photographs lining the walls. Inclusion of the exhibition was a nice touch reminding me of Moore & Moore’s blend of food and arts. The upstairs look was very vintage with retro arm chairs and low coffee tables filling to room. Unfortunately due to lack of space there is only one main dining table, which you would need to snare if you had more than 4 people. We managed to snare the end 2 seats on this table (I would have hated to have seen us attempt to bring food to mouth off the low coffee tables.)

Vintage arm chairs upstairs at The Attic

Vintage arm chairs upstairs at The Attic

Next up was a quick game of guess the fashion style. An entertaining moment where one turns to Sunday’s STM fashion page and attempts to guess what 3 words best describes the poser’s fashion. Inevitably every person has a fun, unique, sophisticated, edgy or chic style. It will be a great day when someone admits that their style is outdated, bought on sale or the only clothing item without a stain.

Our food came out and presentation was clean and simple but still appetising. Although typically a poached egg girl the fried egg on top of the quesadilla was cooked to perfection and went well with the dish. The flavour of the eggs and goats cheese mixed well with the black beans providing the bulk of the dish. The hint of jalapeno’s gave it a slight kick of heat and tied the meal together. The white sauce tasted nice but with the avocado and goats cheese providing enough creaminess, it was something that could have been left to the side. Arancini’s Breakfast Panini was a generous serving and I have no doubt most people wouldn’t be left hungry after it. The simple breakfast flavours of egg, bacon and spinach classically went together but the home-made relish made it all that more memorable.

Breakfast Panini with egg, bacon and homemade relish

Quesadilla with fried egg, black beans, goats cheese, white sauce and avocado

Quesadilla with fried egg, black beans, goats cheese, white sauce and avocado

The long black coffee ($3.80) was probably one of the best coffee’s I’ve had in a while but the same couldn’t be said for the fresh juice. Although having delicious flavour it was let down by being served room temperature. Juice needs to be refreshing especially when you have gone to the hard work of freshly squeezing it, a couple of ice blocks or a cold glass would have gone a long way.

Positives: Pleasant food, vintage decor and smooth coffee.

Negatives: Waitress who had sucked on way too many lemons and hot/luke warm juice.

Score: 3/5.

As much as it pains me to pay a compliment to Victoria, this place has a Melbourne cafe vibe with its vintage nature. It serves well executed and tasty dishes for a reasonable price and a timely fashion. Perhaps with a little more vitamin D and less hours spent locked away in The Attic, this place may get a warmer staff member greeting it’s customers.
The Attic Fremantle on Urbanspoon

Il Lido Italian Canteen: Cottesloe

Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

Al Capp

The Scenario: It’s Saturday afternoon and my bottom is firmly grooved into the couch with a trashy movie playing in the background…….sound familiar?? Yes it was another Saturday afternoon that could have easily progressed into another night of  being too lazy to make an effort to venture from the depths of my bat cave. I don’t know if someone put something in my drink or there was magic in the air but tonight was different, and in some random twist of fate I transformed from a Walmart bogan into a real person.

So what could prompt me to find such motivation? The answer lies in two beautiful little words……….. Il Lido’s.

Il Lido Italian Canteen
88 Marine Pde
Cottesloe 6011
(08) 9286 1111

Open: Monday – Sunday

Breakfast, lunch and dinner available.

Bookings recommended

The literal translation (from all my years of speaking fluent Italian aka just adding an O onto the end of any word) of Il Lido’s is ‘the beach’, which is very logical with the restaurant being located directly across from Cottesloe beach. This logical naming unfortunately did not seem to carry across to Sculptures by The Sea exhibit located close by. In an attempt to be cultured, artistic and deep we ventured to the exhibition for some extended musing and toffee nosed discussion. Although I appreciated many of the sculptures, many left me perplexed purely from the strange names assigned to each piece. Clarification as to why a steel Rooster would be named Freedom, would be greatly appreciated. Why not be like Il Lido’s or one of the funnier artistic works (screwing by the sea – see photo) and call it what it is? Life would be so much simpler.

 A rooster named Freedom

A rooster named Freedom

Screwing by the Sea

Screwing by the Sea

Enough about sculptures I am clearly better suited to understanding food. You will see in the right hand column that I have Il Lido’s listed as one of the top dining places in Perth and that’s for good reason. I have been several times now for lunch and dinner, and not once have I had a bad experience or had any recommendee’s come back disappointed.

I attempted to break the mould and select a new dish to try, despite knowing how good some of my previous meals had been E.g. Pappardelle (pasta) beef cheek ragu. There were a range of options ranging from share plates ($14-$18), to light dishes ($20-$30) and finally main meals E.g. meat, risotto and pasta ($28-$38).  I ordered off the light menu selecting the lamb cutlets served with quinoa (pronounced Kin-wa), goats cheese, egg-plant, raisins and cauliflower. Venturing from what I knew and loved took some will power, with cauliflower not being the most appealing ingredient. My fellow grazer ordered the scotch steak on ciabatta bread with pesto, goats cheese and tomato perhaps influenced by my incessant chatter about the dish and another diners recommendation.

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Service was good being provided with water and food/wine menus immediately. For fellow avid wine drinkers this is a place for you with an extensive list of imported Italian wines and local wines to choose from. Prices for wine range from $40 right through to well over $200. Based on financial circumstances we opted for the well priced Italian Wine Barone di Valforte. This decision was made not by asking for a recommendation (which would be the sensible thing to do) but rather through the impartial action of shutting the eyes and pointing. Some real wine lovers would explain that the wine was very palatable with undertones of berries and perfect tannins. Not being well-informed in this area, I’m just going to go with the fact that it tasted damn good and help wasn’t required to finish the bottle.

Barone di Valforte

Barone di Valforte

Our meals came out at the same time (tick) and were presented nicely (2nd tick) . Cutting into my lamb cutlets it was obvious they had been well rested and cooked to perfection being slightly pink in the middle. The quinoa was well seasoned with the side of goats cheese stopping it from being a potentially dry dish. The small florets of cauliflower were tasty and at no stage did I feel like I was eating Nan’s meat and three veg. Eyeing off my fellow grazers meal it was clear that it was equally satisfying with the meal being finished with the statement, “That’s possibly the best meal I have had” – a big statement for a dish that is essentially an open steak sandwich.

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Although dessert looked great we passed on the option, concerned that we would need the Tonka Truck sculpture to remove us  from the premises and get us home. I did however manage to sneak a taste of a friends citrus tiramisu who also happened to be dining there at the same time. Although I love coffee I’m not a huge traditional tiramisu fan, so the citrus twist worked well for me. It probably had a touch too much cream without enough lime zest to really enjoy. More zest would have given the dessert the “zing” which I expect when ordering a citrus dessert.

My ride home

My ride home

Positives: Consistency, decor/vibe, imported wine list and perfectly pink lamb.

Negatives: Slightly disappointing dessert and loud setting.  Oh and in true Perth style not being able to get a taxi from Cottesloe on St Patrick’s day!

Score: 4/5. A moderately priced restaurant serving up fantastic food time and time again.

Next up a review of The Attic – Fremantle

Love The Fat Cow x

Il Lido Italian Canteen on Urbanspoon

 

 

Lemon Station: Cottesloe

–  You can’t go to the movies alone, that is the epitome of sadness – 

Quote from my Mother.

At this moment I came to think about all the things I do alone and how I may portray the look of someone socially inept or slightly stalkerish to those sitting near me. As I pondered over this statement, I came to acknowledge that there is a definite feeling about what is socially appropriate to do in a group vs on your own.

After being told that going to the movies alone was social suicide, it made me wonder where dining alone sat on the “nigel no-friends appropriateness scale”. Although it’s a sad state of affairs to sit at home alone with your t.v dinner flanked by a half empty bottle of red (probably watching Patrick Swayze lift baby out of the water), it is socially acceptable as your not projecting your sadness onto the general public.

I however strongly believe that dining alone is an activity that one should be able to do solo, without being banished to the land of pity by surrounding couples. To see if I was the only one to share this notion I consulted search engine Google which came back with some interesting insights. From what I could gather it’s  fine to eat alone as long as you look like you seem busy or important.

Suitable suggestions to remedy the dining alone ‘uncomfortabelness’ include:

1. Be bookish and read a magazine or the paper.

2. Eavesdrop on other’s conversation nearby

3. Befriend your blackberry, android or iphone

Personally after reading these suggestions I would be more concerned about the person cocking their ear towards your general direction or a person pretending to talk on the phone to Mr Nobody vs the lone diner simply enjoying their meal. Chances are they are dining alone not because they have debatable social skills or a serious case of halitosis, but rather the food is 10 times better than the mouldy cheese toastie waiting at home, or they would rather have no company over bad company.

Feeling ok about eating alone I can now move onto sharing my solitary experience at Lemon Station in Cottesloe.

Lemon Station
7 Station Street, Cottesloe
Tel: 08 9284 3808

http://www.lemoncafes.com.au/UserFiles/lemonstation.pdf

Opening Times:

Mon-Fri: 6.30am – 3.30pm
Sat: 7.00am – 3.30pm
Sun: 7.30am – 1.00pm

After a busy morning of physical exercise it is a regular phenomena that I feel justified to ‘treat’ myself to breakfast. On today’s occasion I had a craving for bircher muesli. Some people would be hating on me right now for ordering bircher, but being a bircher lover I have found that creating a memorable bircher muesli is an achievement and NO, I CAN’T MAKE IT AT HOME!

I entered the cafe without too many strange looks, and took my seat at a bar table to peruse the menu which had been clearly written up to the side of the cash register. As the long drive to Cottesloe had built up my bircher cravings little time was required to make a choice. I placed an order of apple bircher muesli with vanilla poached strawberries, honeyed yoghurt and toasted hazelnuts ($13.5)  with a long black.

Other menu items included:

Parmesan & spring onion potato cake w/ pancetta crisps, poached egg, citrus crème fraiche & wild rocket ($16)

Bacon & fried egg sandwich w/ homemade tomato relish & greens ($13), Spanish Omelette w/ roasted cherry tomatoes, green onion, basil pesto & feta ($15)  (gf/v) add chorizo ($3).

I scanned the newspaper while waiting – suggestion 1 of how to eat alone and not feel uncomfortable. Fortunately for those around me, I have the hearing of an 80-year-old jack hammer operator and couldn’t eavesdrop on interesting conversation (suggestion 2). A positive of dining alone is that food arrives quickly (perhaps it’s quick to cook or they want you to leave) which gave me good reason to fold away the paper and look busy eating. Presentation was simple yet the vibrant poached strawberry’s made it look appetising. The serving size was in proportion to the cost of the dish, and didn’t leave me contemplating eating the cold baked beans waiting for me at home.

Long Black Coffee - The Morning Hit

The creaminess and softness of the honeyed yoghurt and poached strawberries was nicely offset by the cruchiness of the toasted hazelnuts. Every mouthful I took was enjoyable and the  creepy smile plastered across my face started to make the children weep. Served in square bowl with a round spoon posed some engineering difficulties towards the end of the bowl. Showing marked difficulties in scooping up the last of the bircher with a little hard work and discipline I conquered the bowl, with my parents not doubt being proud of the persistence I displayed.

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

It’s a big call which I am happy to put out there until convinced otherwise, but Lemon’s bircher muesli is one of the best in Perth closely followed by Blend Cafe (Melville). This is a small cafe which serves up some tasty food for a good price. They are not re-inventing the wheel with their menu but what they produce is of high quality.

Final verdict: 3.5/5

Positives: Friendly service, nothing over $20 for breakfast, located close to Cottesloe beach.

Negatives: Basic decor and a simple breakfast menu.

To finish things off I have come to the conclusion that despite my Mother’s grave concerns about my social wellbeing, I rather enjoy a breakfast date with myself. I am however drawing the line at eating solo in a fine dining restaurant – I don’t want the wait staff betting on how long I will wait before my date turns up.

Love The Fat Cow x

Lemon Station Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mrs S: Maylands

Mary had a little pig,
She kept it fat and plastered;
And when the price of pork went up,
She shot the little ba$%#$d

I know it’s not your typical nursery rhyme but Mrs S isn’t your typical suburban cafe. With the interior decked out with cute references to childhood pastimes including Peter Rabbit wall pictures and Little Golden Books as menus, Mrs S automatically creates a homely environment on entry. This ‘cute’ factor is necessary based on the eyesore AKA railway line situated on the opposite side of the road.

The details:

178 Whatley Crescent, Maylands

(08) 9721 6690

Opening hours:  Tues – Sunday for breakfast and lunch.

Being to Mrs S more times than one should go out for breakfast and my painful spruiking to others about it, expectations were high. Perusing the menu I faced the dilemma of choosing between the notoriously good home-made corn bread topped with bacon, maple syrup and poached eggs or the homemade baked beans with feta and poached eggs on ciabatta. Knowing that I wouldn’t be venturing into many public spaces that afternoon I felt it was safe (for both myself and the general public) to have a good healthy dose of beans. My fellow grazer also felt it important to have some protein therefore ordering the same dish. A side order of a long black and piccolo latte was added to aid in starting the day.

Long black coffee with Little Golden Book menu

Orders are taken at the counter, so if you head in wanting high quality ‘table service’ then you might be a little disappointed. I personally don’t mind ordering at the counter as  it avoids waving your hand like a swimmer caught in a rip, which happens fairly regularly in Perth. The coffee’s came out first and although it wasn’t the best long black I still found it acceptable. The piccolo on the other hand was disappointing resembling warm milk with a dash of espresso. Not the ideal start but we were willing to persist and wait for our food, based on the quality plates being served to other grazers. (At this point I put my food stalker binoculars away)

Home-made baked beans with feta and poached eggs on ciabatta

Like a small child a wry smile came across my face as our plates headed in our direction. In my mind the plates had their own theme tune with the classic childhood song ….. beans beans the wonderful fruit, the more you eat the more you toot….. playing in my immature head. A prolonged ‘oooooohhhh’ from both grazers was elicited upon delivery of the plates indicating presentation must have been on the money. As much as I think presentation is important it really is about the taste, hence why Picnic chocolate bars are still being consumed. For me the beans could have been cooked a touch longer being a little crunchy for my liking but aside from this the meal was an absolute dream. The eggs were perfectly poached and seasoned, while the addition of the feta broke up the flavour of the beans and balanced the dish nicely. The ciabatta was fresh and allowed the remnants of the beans and eggs to be cleaned up to a point where the dish looked like it had been washed.

Despite the average coffee, the food once again excelled and we were given a nice send off by the wait staff which was a pleasant end to our morning expedition.

Negatives: Average coffee and slightly undercooked beans.

Positives: Quirky interior prompting a trip down memory lane, perfectly poached eggs and the display of appetising cakes.

Overall: 4/5. I will continue to spruik my little heart out about how much I love this place for breakfast!

Stay tuned for a write-up on ‘The Silver Spoon’ degustation menu located in Vic Park

Love The Fat Cow x

Mrs. S on Urbanspoon

The Imp Cafe : East Vic Park

According to my research the definition of the word ‘Imp’ means: A small devil or small mischievous child.

 

As one is able to do on Wikipedia I am tempted to alter the word  ‘Imp’  to meaning: A ridiculously small food portion.

 

I have been to Imp Cafe previously for breakfast a few times and quite enjoyed their bircher muesli and Fiori coffee. I was however interested in seeing what their nighttime tapas menu had to offer. With the cafe being conveniently located from my humble abode and being BYO, I was keen to see if The Imp could become a regular grazing pasture when the mood for Tapas struck.

The Imp Cafe

863 Albany Hwy, East Vic Park

Phone: (08) 9361 2600

Open Mon – Sun (7am till 10pm)

BYO wine (Bottle shop 4 doors down)

http://www.theimp.com.au/

Not being able to book and knowing that the cafe itself is very small, our group of 5 (university chums) arrived at 6pm in order to ‘shotgun’ a table. Fortunately we nabbed a  table in prime location AKA next to the cake display. While we waited for our late 6th member to arrive we poured the red ($3 corkage p/head) and started campaigning for whichever plate took our fancy.

In the past I have clearly shared my notion of ‘what’s yours is mine’ when it comes to dining out. With this in mind one would think that I would adore Tapas, to which I respond with a “negative ghost rider”. My aversion to going out for tapas stems from the fact that after taking all costs into account it can wind up being expensive. This is mainly due to the fact that you have to purchase a  kebab with the lot on the way home because you are still starving. Not wanting to end my night with a kebab in hand and garlic sauce over my face, we surveyed the waitress as to how much we would require for 6 people. Her answer…… ‘ 1 plate each’. Putting my non-existent maths skills to use, 6 people meant that 6 plates would be required to avoid the kebab ghost run.

After vigorous campaigning and casting our votes the selection included:

Lamb backstrap, cous cous, stone fruit, mint & yoghurt …………. 26.0

Beef shin, charred spring onions & sticky soy sauce (g) ………….. 18.5

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants .. 13.0

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v) …………………………………. 9.0

Venison chorizo, lemon & parsley (g) ……………………………………. 9.5

Duck & fig frittata bites, rocket & truffle oil (g) ……………………… 15.0

After ordering we were informed that our 6th member had gone AWOL and therefore would not be joining us. Secretly I smiled inside knowing that there would be no chance of going hungry, as we were sharing 6 plates between the 5 of us!! Happy days.

Service was relatively prompt but I would have hated to have seen my face when the plates were placed in front of me. I think it would have resembled the look of a two-year old realising she had received a book and embroided handkerchiefs for Christmas vs the My Little Pony, that she had been hankering for all year. I was particularly concerned about how we would go about sharing the crispy pork belly between 5 of us when there were only 2 portions about the size of a dice sitting on the oversized plate.

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants

Feeling a little deflated I hoped that by slowy gnawing on each piece I would not only be amazed by the flavours but feel satisfied. Unfortunately this really wasn’t the case with the crispy pork belly not being particularly crispy and the hand cut potatoes resembling Napoleon Dynamite’s potato tots. The duck and fig frittata bites was probably the biggest let down, with the flavours of the duck and fig not coming through resulting in it tasting very bland.

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v)

The venison chorizo however was addictive and the dash of lemon gave it a nice fresh taste. I also enjoyed the lamb backstrap which was nicely accompanied with the cous cous and mint yoghurt, and was an appropriate serving size for 6 people.

Although we could have ordered more, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be good service and logical to inform diners that more than one pork belly dish should be ordered if there is only 2 pieces with 6 people sitting at the table????’

As the cake display had been making eyes at me all night, I decided to not order more tapas and fill up on sugary goodness. There was a large selection of desserts including brownies, crumble, sticky date pudding and carrot cake to name a few. Being slightly overcast I was in the mood for sticky date ($5.50) with a side of vanilla ice-cream ($2). The presentation of the pudding was cute (being served in a coffee cup) and the generous side serving of vanilla ice-cream was not in keeping with The Imp name. The pudding was enjoyable, but could have done with more sticky date sauce (really just sugar and butter…yum) making the cake more ‘moist’ (probably the most common word used when talking cake). Fortunately with the combination of the cake and red wine I felt full despite the main event barely touching the sides.

Sticky date pudding with a side of vanilla icecream

Positives: BYO wine, venison chorizo, generous with the ice-cream and a pleasant setting.

Negatives: ‘Imp size’ portions, bland duck frittata and another black mark against going out for Tapas.

Overall: Sorry but this Tapas didn’t win me over so I am giving it a 2/5. I am however happy to return for breakfast based on good past experiences.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Imp on Urbanspoon

Sayers: Leederville

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.

– Dave Barry –

Humor columnist Dave Barry is 100% right – Rice cake’s taste like styrofoam. As far as I am concerned rice cakes, oats, cucumber and unsalted popcorn would all be ‘beige’ if they were a colour and are a waste of calories which could be put to better use for mouth-watering  culinary delights.  Throughout the week I try to resist devouring a whole bowl of flavour filled (and sugar filled) cereal and eat the mundane healthy oats with fruit as diabetes doesn’t particularly interest me. But one can not live this way forever (or for an entire 7 days), which is why I dedicate every Sunday morning to replenishing my body with a breakfast flavour explosion that it so desperately needs. Some may say that I am a breakfast addict…… I am not willing to admit to this in case it leads to me having to give it up.

Not wanting to waste my once a week breakfast bonanza much planning, research and thought goes into which cafe will fulfill my physiological needs. Therefore, I offer you a slightly scary insight into my weekly thought process.

1. I need a cafe which serves both savoury and sweet breakfast dishes – Making a midweek prediction of,  if you will want hot cakes or poached eggs just isn’t possible.

2. I need a place which doesn’t remind me of an IKEA car park and have people stalking me for my seat while eating.

3. Most importantly though, I need a cafe which is located close to the shops so that I can attempt to make last-minute Christmas gift purchases on a full and happy stomach.

Final conclusion was the well-known and loved cafe SAYERS!

224 Carr Place, Leederville

http://www.sayersfood.com.au/

Monday–Saturday

7am–11:30am: Breakfast
11:30am–2pm: Lunch

Sunday

7am–2pm: Breakfast
11:30–3pm: Counter lunch

Like a kid on Christmas morning I awoke early keen to have the most important meal of the day, and it wasn’t long before we were scamming a table outside decked with Freudian like chairs. Perched on my chair like Queen Mary the hard work of selecting a meal began. (A story in itself)

I did a personality test the other day which resulted in me finding out that I have relatively poor decision-making ability. At the time I scoffed at this notion choosing to believe that I wasn’t one of those annoying people who were forever ‘going with the flow’ *insert cringe*. As I scanned over the menu however, I had an epiphany realising that in the space of 10 minutes I still hadn’t reached a clear decision on what I wanted. Although tests prove I am psychologically inept in this area, I truly believe that Sayers did not assist in the process having a menu that looked so damn good. Although I had been recommended the Ricotta and White Chocolate Hotcakes with sticky toffee apple sauce and double cream ($16.50) I settled on the somewhat unusual combination of Raspberry Mushroom & crumbled feta, rocket, poached egg on toasted quinoa & linseed. ($18.50)

I often take the ‘what’s your’s is mine approach‘ when dining with most people. My fellow grazer played a strategic game however and ordered the Green tea salmon egg, baked ricotta, Denmark asparagus & rosewater poached pear ($20.50) knowing that I wouldn’t eat off their plate due to my strong dislike of smoked salmon.So the stage was set – Sayers had only one chance to blow me away with the one dish that I had ordered. At no point would unseasoned poached egg or mushroom cut it, I could not have my Sunday morning ruined by a breakfast which tasted like rice cakes.

Green tea salmon scrambled egg, baked ricotta, Denmark asparagus with rosewater poached pears

Fortunately for Sayers things were looking positive, with my star sign (in the paper) indicating that I would have a good day. The meals arrived in a timely manner and were aesthetically very pleasing. The lashing’s of raspberry over the top of the mushroom gave the plate a real lift in terms of presentation. I was additionally excited to see that my lone poached egg had been seasoned well with sea salt and pepper – BIG TICK.

Raspberry mushroom & crumbled feta, rocket, poached egg on toasted quinoa and linseed

Although I was dubious about how the raspberry would taste when combined with the other components of the dish I was pleasantly surprised. The strong flavour of the crumbled feta was nicely offset by the delicate sweetness and freshness of the raspberry drizzle. This was a good dish and I was feeling that I would be awarding my first 5/5 score to Sayers. The ultimate and final test however came down to that little poached egg sitting ever so quietly next to the quinoa & linseed toast – would it have the ‘goo factor’ that one aspires to get right when poaching their own eggs?????? As the knife pierced the surface, like a little rays of sunshine the bright yellow yolk ran all over the mushroom making me (in a sad way) very happy. As I scraped my plate clean I felt fulfilled and happy to take on the arduous task of Christmas shopping amidst the rest of the unorganised Perth population.

Overall:

Positives: Great food and coffee, good atmosphere and prompt service (despite being busy). It is easy to see why Sayers has been and remained a popular and well liked dining spot since its opening.

Negatives: Fairly small place – Based on its popularity it would be difficult to get a seat if you have more than 4 people and it is fairly loud if dining inside.

Flaversome food,  crave curing coffee, sensational staff and a scenic setting = a top score of 5/5

Up next is tapas at ‘The Imp’ in Victoria Park so stay tuned.

Love ‘The Fat Cow” x

Sayers on Urbanspoon